Richard was born on 18 March 1837 in Methwold, Norfolk, England. He was a son and the 7th of 8 children of Horatio Bucke and Clarissa Andrews, and a great-great-great-grandson of the celebrated Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, first Earl of Orford, and grand-nephew of Charles Bucke, author of works on the “Beauties of Nature,” and the “Ruins of Ancient Cities”.
He was only a 1 year old infant when he emigrated to London, Ontario, Canada with his family in 1838, where they settled and he grew up on a farm 3 miles from the town. His father gave up his work as a religious minister. Maurice was educated at the London grammar school and helped as a farm boy until he left to go travelling in 1853, aged 16. He joined a group going to California, which was attacked by Shoshone Indians when they crossed their territory, and was the only survivor of a silver mining party, who were frozen to death in the winter of 1857-58 in the Californian mountains, losing a foot and several toes that had to be amputated after frostbite. He returned via Panama in 1858, and then spent four years in medical and surgical studies at McGill University, Montreal, where he graduated as first prize student in the spring of 1862: his thesis for that prize on “The Correlation of the Vital and Physical Forces”, was so able and so valuable that it was published in pamphlet form and had a wide circulation. He devoted two additional years to his internship in London at University College Hospital, visiting Paris while there.
In 1864, he returned and settled in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, where he spent 10 years practicing his profession.
In 1865, he married Jessie Maria Gurd of Moore, Ontario, Canada, and was to have 8 children with her.
While in Sarnia, Maurice became interested in the American poetry scene, which led to reading Walter Whitman-6's Leaves of Grass in 1869. He was deeply impressed by it, and it may well have been a 'trigger' to eventually elevate Edward Carpenter-16032's self-consciousness to Cosmic Consciousness. Edward also first read it in 1869 and continued to do so for the next 10 years!
"In 1872, while in London, Bucke had the most important experience of his life — a fleeting mystical experience that he said consisted of a few moments of Cosmic Consciousness", which followed a night reading Whitman and Romantic poets. He was fluent in French and German, as well as English, and influenced by the writings of Dante Alighieri-1, Francis Bacon-562 (whom he believed was "Shakespeare"??), William Blake-5076, all 3 of whom attained Cosmic Consciousness. Those fleeting moments of his sole initiation are summarised in the Wikipedia article.
In January 1876, Bucke became the medical superintendent of the Asylum for the Insane in Hamilton, Ontario. In 1877, he was appointed head of the provincial Asylum for the Insane in London, Ontario, a promotion, and a post he held, as a psychiatrist, for nearly the remainder of his life.
In 1879 he published 'Man's Moral Nature: An Essay', which he dedicated to Walt Whitman, the man of most exalted moral nature. In 1883 he published a book about 'Walt Whitman' under that title.
Only a short time after he published his magnum opus on 'Cosmic Consciousness' in 1901 (ref.3), Bucke slipped on a patch of ice in front of his home and struck his head, on February 19, 1902. He died a few hours later without regaining consciousness (Wikipedia).
He was deeply mourned by a large circle of friends, who loved him for his sturdy honesty, his warm heart, his intellectual force, but most of all for his noble qualities as a man. His burial site seems to be unknown.
He has written his own life story in Part I, section IVof his magnum opus in far more detail than in this profile, and also the reason for publishing it: to awaken the world to a better life, as part of the evolutionary process. He has also identified characteristics he believes are common to those who have made the transition from the 'self-consciousness' family to the 'Cosmic Consciousness' family, going back to Gautama Buddha (b.c.563 BCE), with the earliest on Wikitree being Dante Alighieri-1 (1265-1321), and up to some of Bucke's contemporaries, . The most recently deceased, added to Wikitree in 2018, is Russell Williams-51339 (1921-2018), who is considered to have made the same transition, aged 29.
A tabular statement at the end of Part II of those considered as probably genuine cases of Cosmic Consciousness, contains names of 43 individuals but with 17 only having their initials given. They were contemporaries of Richard Bucke. 3 of the latter are the only women in the 43 except for Madame Guyon born in 1648, whom he does not have a Chapter in the body of the work.
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